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Fantasy Outlook: Yoenis Cespedes

Fantasy Outlook: Yoenis Cespedes
Will Yoenis Cespedes' motivation for a bigger paycheck push his production to new heights in 2016?

Will Yoenis Cespedes’ motivation for a bigger paycheck push his production to new heights in 2016?

2015 Season Recap

After granting the Mets the distinguished position of being the Cuban slugger’s fourth organization in four seasons, the book on Yoenis Cespedes since his inception into the league in 2012 is inundated with flash, substance and most of all — question marks. It is these question marks that precede his reputation and proceeded to promulgate throughout the league. However, after relinquishing merely one upper-tier prospect for the dynamic outfielder, the 30-year-old made the impact for the Mets that general managers scratch, claw and drool for in the recesses of their cramped, chaotic offices come trade deadline season.

Launching the Mets into contention to the tune of 17 home runs, 44 RBI and a .942 OPS in 57 games, the clearly motivated Cespedes indelibly stamped his presence on the league in the season’s second half (including a hallmark five-hit, three-homer, seven-RBI game in Colorado). Nicknamed “La Potencia” (Spanish for “The Power”), the slugger gave the nickname credibility en route to 83 extra-base hits (third in baseball).

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2016 Projections and ECR

FantasyPros Consensus Projections rank him 26th overall, finishing with a stat line of 28 HR, 83 RBI and a .786 OPS. Another 30 home run season certainly isn’t out of the question as Cespedes seemed to have an increasing focus on top arm strength through the zone this past season, which may have also contributed to his augmented power numbers. However, be wary of the fact that Cespedes hit only .223 off left-handers last season and expect the All-Star’s career .319 OBP to remain somewhat similar this year.

As for FantasyPros Expert Consensus Rankings, he is ranked 39th among hitters. While it’s easy to become enthralled by Cespedes’ scorching hot streaks, don’t forget that his aggressiveness at the plate typically backfires against elite pitchers with premiere secondary offerings, as the former Gold Glove winner hit merely three of his regular season home runs last year against eventual playoff teams.

2016 Season Outlook

While the 2014 Home-Run Derby winner struggled in the postseason, bank on another productive season from him this year, particularly due to his still ongoing pursuit of bountiful Benjamins. What appeared at first to be a promising, lucrative offseason following his captivating Mets’ run was derailed by a confluence of whispers about his motivation along with Mets’ owner Fred Wilpon and GM Sandy Alderson’s unwillingness to offer him a long-term contract. Despite the rival Washington Nationals’ offering $35 million more than the Mets’ ultimately did, Cespedes didn’t get the offer he sought and will once again seek a significant long-term deal next year.

Who emerges from the dust as the prominent victor in this drawn-out, dramatic offseason brigade? That would be the New York Mets along with Cespedes’ fantasy owners since the player opt-out clause after the first year of his three-year/$75 million deal eradicates growing suspicion that the 30-year-old wouldn’t be sufficiently motivated (had he landed a long-term deal) heading into 2016.

The Cuban Slugger has his flaws, but his ability to carry a team on his back for considerable stretches is a skill very few players in the game possess. Plus, if “La Potencia’s” daily barrage of mouth-watering Fast and the Furious-esque cars in Spring Training are any indication, expect more pulsating prowess in 2016.

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Anthony Castellano is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from Anthony, check out his archive and follow him @AcasNY23.

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